Sabah Crisis Timeline: Lost Sovereignty, Rental Money, RP’s Third World ‘Empire’ and Pinoy Useful Idiots
A lot of Filipinos believe that the Philippine government must strongly assert its territorial claim on Sabah to the extent of preparing for a possible military campaign against our neighboring Malaysia, which annexed Sabah to its national territory through a self-determination vote in 1963.
Some of these misguided Filipino imperialists naively believe that the self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu still exercises absolute sovereign rule over his alleged territories. Some rely on the questionable wisdom of former Senator Jovito Salonga, who somehow believed we have the absolute authority and power to deny the Sabahans of their right to self-determination because of our alleged historical claim on the disputed territory. In his March 30, 1963 rebuttal speech, Salonga challenged his fellow Senator Lorenzo Sumulong who asserted in a privileged speech that “North Borneo is not a part of the national territory of the Philippines as defined and delimited in our Constitution.”
Salonga, a self-styled Filipino nationalist, narrated how north Borneo, now known as Sabah, which was originally ruled by the Sultan of Brunei, became part of Sulu Sultan’s sovereign territory. First, Sabah was given as a gift to the Sulu Sultan. Then it was rented to a number of entities. Today the self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu Jamalul D. Kiram III has been claiming that the disputed land is his personal private property.
Salonga argued that the Filipinos’ claim is mainly based on the following propositions: “that [Austrian adventurer Baron] de Overbeck and [English merchant Alfred] Dent, not being sovereign entities nor representing sovereign entities, could not and did not acquire dominion and sovereignty over North Borneo; that on the basis of authoritative British and Spanish documents, the British North Borneo Company, a private trading concern to whom Dent transferred his rights, did not and could not acquire dominion and sovereignty over North Borneo; that their rights were as those indicated in the basic contract, namely, that of a lessee and a mere delegate; that in accordance with established precedents in International Law, the assertion of sovereign rights by the British Crown in 1946, in complete disregard of the contract of 1878 and their solemn commitments, did not and cannot produce legal results in the form of a new tide.”
Salonga also confirmed that “the heirs of the Sultan could not possibly litigate before the International Court of Justice for the simple reason that they have no international legal personality.” This means that the current heirs of the Sultan, including Jamalul D. Kiram III, do not possess absolute sovereign powers.
Definitely, Salonga’s argument that Sabah is part of the Philippine territory is without any historical, legal and even moral basis. The truth is, like the Filipinos and Asian people and tribes, the Sabahans were entitled to their right to self-determination. In the first place, the Sulu Sultan lost- or gave up- his temporal sovereignty in 1915 through an agreement with governor of Mindanao Frank Carpenter.
Ironically, Kiram III will not even categorically say Sabah is part of the Philippine territory. What’s very clear is that he’s fighting for his alleged private property and that his Sabah claim is purely a personal issue.
It appears that this is all about money. It’s all about rent dollar and political power. Since it’s pretty clear the Kirams can no longer reclaim their alleged lost property (I’m sure they know it), their warmongering actions were merely initiated to pressure Malaysia to increase their rental payment.
This issue should be about the Sabahans’ right to determine their fate, national identity, rights and future. They voted to be part of Malaysia. Salonga and many other Filipino little brown imperialists should respect the Sabahans’ rights and collective decision.
However, what is pretty clear is that Kiram III, who declared a unilateral ceasefire, sent his own men to Sabah, Malaysia to fight and die for him. The Philippine government should never condone the illegal actions of this warmongering tribal royalist.
Now Kiram’s wife, Celia, revealed in a radio interview that the sultan wrote to the United Nations about Sabah, which she identified as “not the Kiram property alone [but] the patrimony of the Filipino people… of the Tausug people and of the whole Sultanate of Sulu.”
You may read the UN statement here.
Why the sudden change of heart? The truth is, Kiram III unilaterally revoked the resolution of August 1962 concerning the transfer of title and sovereignty to the Republic of the Philippines. This shows that the self-proclaimed sultan has been very consistent with his actions and words in that he never considered Sabah to be part of the Philippine territory.
IMHO, Malaysia should have stopped paying rent to the Kiram family since 1963 when the Sabahans voted to be part of Malaysia.
Here’s a friendly advice to pinoy useful idiots who want to reclaim Sabah from Malaysia: join the self-proclaimed sultan’s private army or donate money to his family. Join the primitive royalist’s mission to invade Sabah and be prepared to die for him and his cause.
Meanwhile, the following presents the historical timeline of the Sabah crisis.
1640: Understanding the Sabah Crisis
The Sabah stand-off spans centuries of dispute. In this timeline, we will offer a bit of the Sabah history and events that led to the “Battle for Sabah” that we witnessed over the past few weeks. We start with this history. In the 1640s, the independence of the sultanates of Sulu and Maguindanao were recognized by a treaty brokered by the Spaniards.The Sultan of Sulu became the sovereign ruler of most of Sabah, which was then known as North Borneo. From 1894-1936, Sultan Jamalul Kiram II, from whom Sultan Jamalul Kiram III is directly descended, ruled the Sultanate of Sulu.
1898 — 1915: Fall From Political Power
It was during his rule that Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States through the Treaty of Paris in 1898. The treaty lines did not include Sabah. In 1915, the governor of Mindanao Frank Carpenter and the Sulu sultan signed an agreement relinquishing the Sultanate’s temporal sovereignty, tax collection and arbitration laws in Sulu. The Sultan agreed to receive an allowance, a piece of land and gave up his political power to become a religious leader.
June 11, 1936 — 1961: Succession and Claims
The death of Sultan Jamalul Kiram II in June 11, 1936 led to a question of the perpetuation of the Sultanate. His brother, Sultan Muwallil Wasit succeeded him but died before he was crowned. In 1957, Filipino Muslims urged President Ramon Magsaysay to ask the British, which had annexed North Borneo as a crown colony, for the return of Sabah to the Philippines. Magsaysay did not act on the claim. It was President Diosdado Macapagal who initiated the filing of the Philippine claim on Sabah in 1961. The following year, Vice-President Emmanuel Pelaez raised the issue to the U.S., addressing the General Assembly and asking help in effecting a peaceful resolution.
1977 — 1987: Giving up Sabah and Claiming it Again
In August 4, 1977, Marcos announced that the Philippines was giving up its claim to Sabah in order “to eliminate of the burdens of ASEAN.” But the accord that would put this in writing was not signed because Malaysia wanted
legislative amendments, particularly on the constitutional provision on “territories belonging to the Philippines by historic right or legal title.” In November 1982, Malaysia said, “The Philippines has not taken all the necessary steps to delete a clause in its Constitution laying claim to Sabah.” In 1987, President Corazon Aquino suggested that personal claimants to Sabah organize themselves and arrive at a common position. The Malaysian government was said to have given assurance that it was ready and willing to negotiate with the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu in order to settle this matter. The heirs meet Mrs. Aquino in Malacanang except for Jamalul Kiram III, who dissented.
1996 — 2008: The Question of Lease
In 1996, Princess Denchurain Kiram wrote to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia asking him to increase the lease it pays to US$1M. She also said she was willing to renounce the claim if the Malaysian Government provided a fair settlement. In 2001, Sultan Esmail Kiram II wrote to Prime Minister Mahathir, through President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo, to ask an increase in the lease fee to $855 million a year. In March 14, 2001, Malaysian authorities reportedly expressed willingness to buy Sabah for $800 million in a deal initiated by heirs of the Sultan of Sulu. In 2002, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assured the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu of protection. Arroyo also sent the letter asking for adjustment of rent to Sabah. The Sulu provincial government in Aug. 10, 2008 told Malaysia to Increase annual payment to Jamalul Kiram II to $500 million.
2008 — 2011: Sabah claim pursued
In Aug. 20, 2008, Mrs. Arroyo issued “Guidelines on matters pertaining to North Borneo (Sabah)” which said that all official activity related to Sabah should have Department of Foreign Affairs clearance. In March 10, 2009, Arroyo signed R.A. 9522, amending R.A. 5446, which removes mention of Sabah or North Borneo in the Archipelagic Baselines of the Philippines law. In July 16, 2011, a Supreme Court upheld the baseline law, noting that the Philippine claim over Sabah is retained and can be pursued.
February 12, 2013: Armed Filipinos Land in Sabah
A group of men in army fatigues, believed to be armed, land on the shores of Lahad Datu. Malaysian police cordon area and asks group to surrender and lay down arms.
February 14, 2013 — February 28, 2013: The Negotiations
The Royal Malaysia Police identify armed group as supporters of the “Sulu Sultanate.” The “intruders” are asked to leave peacefully.
February 16, 2013: Militants or Terrorists?
Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein says group is not militant or a terrorist but supporters of “Sulu Sutan” Jamalul Kiram III.
February 18, 2013: Governments Working Together
Hishammuddin says Malaysia and Philippines working to resolve conflict through diplomacy.
February 24, 2013: Mercy Ships
Philippines sends a mercy ship to Malaysia to fetch rebels who would like to go home. Read the full story.
February 26, 2013: Aquino Warns Suluks
Philippines President Benigno Aquino issues his first warning to the supporters of the Royal Sultan of Sulu but the rebels refused to heed his calls.Read the full story.
February 27, 2013: Sabah’s Filipinos Remain Defiant
President Aquino’s deadline lapses but the Sulu Sultan’s supporters remain defiant.
February 28, 2013: More Negotiations
The Malaysian government is urged to negotiate directly with a ‘Sultan Jamalul Kiram III’ in Manila to end the conflict of seizing the area in Lahad Datu, Sabah which has prolonged for more than three weeks.
March 2013: First Firefight
Malaysian police drop leaflets to order surrender of Kiram supporters holed up in Lahad Datu. Shots are fired, leaving 12 supporters of Kiram group dead and two Malaysian cops killed.
March 2013: Aquino Takes Stand
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III orders Kiram’s camp to “unconditionally surrender.”
March 2, 2013 — March 4, 2013: Ambush in Semporna
Six Malaysian policemen are killed in an ambush at the ‘water village’ of Kampung Sri Jaya Simunul, Semporna. Six of the armed intruders are also killed in the 8pm incident. Malaysian authorities later reveal that the bodies of the policemen were badly mutilated.Read the full story.
March 4, 2013: Still Hoping For Peace
Philippine Foreign Affairs Under Secretary Jose Brillantes and Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya meet Malaysian Defence Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein to seek a peaceful resolution.
7:00 AM- March 5, 2013: Airstrikes Launched
Security forces mount operation as they launch attack using F-18 and Hawk fighter jets on Kiram’s group holed up at Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu, Sabah, followed by army and police follow-up operations and searches in the village area.
8:00 AM- March 5, 2013: Malaysian PM Speaks
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says the government must take appropriate action to protect its dignity and the country’s sovereignty as demanded by the people as the efforts to avoid bloodshed in Lahad Datu are unsuccessful.
11:00 AM- March 5, 2013: Malaysian Military: Ops a Success
In a media conference, Armed Forces Chief Gen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mod Zin describes the operation, ‘Ops Daulat’, as achieving its objectives.
March 5, 2013 at 1:30 PM: No Malaysian Casualties
Malaysian Home and Defense Ministers say security forces did not suffer any casualties. Read the full story.
4:00 PM- March 5, 2013: Manhunt Continues
Follow-up operations and search conducted due to reported presence of remaning armed group in the area.Read the full story.
March 6, 2013: Stand-off Remains
A supporter of Kiram is shot. Operations continue as 300,000 Malaysian citizens of Suluk descent distance themselves from areas taken by Kiram’s supporters.
March 7, 2013: Extradition Eyed
Malaysia mulls seeking Sultan Kiram’s extradition Read the full story.
March 7, 2013: Unilateral Ceasefire Proposed
In a press conference in Manila, Sulu Sultan Kiram calls for “unilateral ceasefire. “Read the full story.
March 7, 2013: Malaysia Rejects Plea
Malaysia rejects Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III’s ceasefire plea, wanting instead an ‘unconditional surrender’Read the full story.
March 7, 2013: Jamalul Kiram III Prays
Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, performs doa or prayers, after declaring a unilateral ceasefire or cessation of attacks from Kiram’s followers on Malaysian security forces in Sabah. Kiram’s call follows a statement by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, calling for an end to the violence in Sabah, encouraging dialogue among all the parties for a peaceful resolution of the situation.